ZAMBIA – African Green Resources (AGR), one of Zambia’s leading farm inputs supplier has launched a $40 million joint venture with the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP), to boost crop yields and food security in the country as farmers struggle to access finance amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

AFAP is an independent non-profit service provider in the agriculture inputs and agribusiness value chain founded in 2012 by a partnership of African development organizations.

It was built on the work of the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), a framework for achieving ambitious agriculture development goals set in place by African nations and leaders.

According to the report by Reuters Africa, the private sector deal includes a scheme to support 250,000 mainly subsistence farmers to double their maize yields and help feed around 10 million people in Zambia and the southern African region.

Credit packages for seed, fertiliser and training will be provided to the farmers, while plans are also being made to use soya beans and maize to produce animal stock feed, among other products.

“AFAP’s role is not only sourcing fertiliser guarantees and credit lines, but to also act as an adviser for downstream activities like value addition,” said the chairman AGR, Zuneid Yousuf.

In the 2018/2019 crop season, Zambia’s national average yield rate for maize was 2.52 tonnes per hectare, far below Egypt at 8 tonnes and South Africa at 4 tonnes.

Zambia’s 2019/2020 season maize production is projected to rise by 69% to 3,387,469 metric tonnes from the 2,004,389 metric tonnes produced last season.

Small and medium scale farmers are expected to contribute up to 93 percent of the total maize production i.e. 3,160,185 metric tonnes while the large-scale farmers are expected to produce 227,284 metric tonnes representing 7 percent of the total maize production.

The country had a maize carry-over stock amounting to 179,247 metric tonnes as at 1st May, 2020 therefore the total supply of maize available for the 2020/2021 marketing season is 3,566,716 metric tonnes.

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